THE LAWS OF EUCHRE
Adopted by the Somerset Club of Boston
March 1, 1888
H. C. Leeds + James Dwight
There is such a variety of opinion about
the bridge that the writers do not feel confident
enough to express any decided view
about the matter.
It is a complicated question from a mathematical
point of view, and they have never
kept any record for a long enough period
of time to be of any practical value.
They doubt, however, the expediency of
keeping the bridge strictly.
If, however, the bridge is to be kept at
all, it should be kept always, and in the
same manner; otherwise you deceive your
There is a growing tendency to abolish
the bridge. The writers remember distinctly
not long ago when every one kept
the bridge; now the same players take their
chances with two lay aces, or the ace and
another in trumps. This, however, is purely
a matter of taste, and is not offered here as
an arbitrary rule.
Naturally, some hands will make four
beyond a doubt; but it is much harder to
get an imperfect lone hand through against
two good players than against two inferior
ones; hence the better the players, the less
is the value of the bridge against the ordinary
It is impossible to absolutely define a
“lone hand.” With the score three-all, four-all,
or any score in your favor, do not risk
a light lone hand. It is our opinion that
a great many points are lost by not taking
your partner with you for a march.
With the score four-one or four-two
against you, you may take a desperate
If your opponents keep bridges tolerably
strictly, you must, of course, be more careful
if they have passed.
The eldest hand has the best position to
play a lone hand, and the dealer the next
The second and third hands have the
weakest positions for lone hands, especially
the third hand, if the turn-up is the trump,
since if the third hand declares to play
alone it has become an established custom
for the dealer to discard next in suit, and
for his partner to lead it to him. The
third hand should take this into consideration
before playing alone. This is the
only case when the original lead of next in
suit has any significance.
In playing against a lone hand, you
should lead from a short suit or suit of
equals, if possible, and the fourth card you
play (supposing always the lone hand to
take the first four tricks with trumps)
should inform your partner what suit you
mean to keep. For example: Clubs are
trumps. Eldest hand has two small trumps,
queen of hearts, and queen and seven of
spades. Lead the queen of hearts. The
dealer, who is playing alone, ruffs the heart
and leads both bowers and the ace of trumps.
On the fourth trick you play the seven of
spades; your partner, holding the ace of
spades and the ten of diamonds, should
throw away the ace of spades and keep the
ten, thereby attacking the lone hand in all
Example: Clubs are trumps. The eldest
hand has the king of clubs, the king of
hearts, the ace and seven of diamonds, and
the ten of spades. Lead the king of hearts,
throw away the ten of spades as early
as possible, and play the seven of diamonds
on the fourth trick, thereby informing
your partner that you are keeping
If you lead from equals,—as king,
queen, or queen, knave,—and your opponent
takes the trick with a card of that
suit, throw away all your other cards,
however high, and keep your second one
of that suit. This applies always against
the dealer, and usually against any other
If the eldest hand holds the ace of hearts
and the ace and king of spades (the trump
being a club), lead the ace of hearts and
advertise the command of the spade suit
by throwing away the ace as soon as
An exception: For third hand, supposing
the dealer to have taken the first three
tricks without showing a lay card and to
have led a winning trump for the fourth
trick. If your partner's fourth card is a
lay king, and you hold one card of that
suit and one of another, neither of which
suits has been ruffed, keep the card of the
same suit as your partner's king on the
With an assistance you may play a lone
hand with less strength than otherwise.
Should your partner declare to play
alone, and you have a fair trump hand
with no weakness in lay suits, it is good
play to take it from him.
The following cases are offered to illustrate
some of the fine points in the
game. Opportunities for making some of
these plays occur frequently, and every
ambitious euchre-player should be familiar
with them. The easiest way to follow
them is to place the cards on the table as
A coup is when you depart from the
ordinary established rules of play, with
certain reasons for each special case. Do
not hesitate when attempting a coup. Consider
what the play of your adversaries
means, as well as that of your partner.
Bear in mind that coups are justified
only in exceptional cases.
In all these cases A and C are partners.
A is the dealer, and the discard is supposed
to have been properly made.
Refusing to over trump.
Score, love-all. A adopts the trump.
First Trick.—B leads knave of diamonds,
C plays the seven, D ruffs with the
ten of clubs, and A throws away the eight
Second Trick.—D leads the ace of spades,
A ruffs with the nine of clubs, and both B
and C follow suit.
Third Trick.—A leads the right bower
and catches the ace and king from B and
D, while his partner throws his small
Fourth Trick.—in this case A will win
whether he leads the ace or king of hearts;
but his play should be the king, since his
partner cannot help him in any way, and
B might hold the left bower and pass
the king of hearts, when he would ruff the
Remarks. —If A goes over the ten of
trumps with his right in the first trick,
he will be euchred. This is the simplest
coup, and is in constant use. It is not
good euchre to do this when your partner
Leading through assistance. When to continue with
Score, love-all. C assists.
Remarks.—B leads the right through
the assisting hand, C plays the ace, D the
seven, and A should play the king. If A
plays the queen to give information to his
partner, B should at once continue with the
eight of hearts, and thus effect a euchre.
If A plays the king, B's natural play would
be to lead the ace of clubs, whereby A and
C make their point. Few cases arise when
you should conceal information from your
partner, but this is one of them.
Ruffing a winning card in order to draw trumps and
Score, four to three in favor of A and C. C assists.
First Trick.—B leads the ten of hearts,
C plays the right, D the king, and A the
Second Trick.—C leads the ace of clubs,
D plays the ten, A the eight of clubs, and
B the king.
Third Trick.—C leads the ace of spades,
D plays the king, A ruffs with the nine of
hearts, and B plays the nine of spades.
Fourth and Fifth Tricks.—A leads the
left, thereby drawing all the trumps, and
continues with the winning club.